How to Find the Right HVAC School near Wedowee Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Wedowee AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Wedowee AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Wedowee AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Wedowee AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Wedowee AL, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Wedowee AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Wedowee and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Wedowee AL
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Wedowee AL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Wedowee AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Wedowee AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Wedowee AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Wedowee AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Wedowee AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Wedowee AL, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Wedowee AL?
Wedowee is a town in Randolph County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 823, up from 818 in 2000. The small town is the county seat of Randolph County. It was initially incorporated in 1836, but its charter lapsed by the late 19th century. It was reincorporated in 1901.
Following Indian Removal of the Creek in the 1830s to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River by the US government, this area was settled by European Americans. The town of Wedowee was designated as the county seat of Randolph County in 1835. The county was developed for the cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, with labor primarily done by enslaved African Americans, many of whom had been sold to the Deep South from the Upper South in the domestic slave trade.
Since the late 20th century, Lake Wedowee was created by the impoundment of the Tallapoosa River. This has enhanced the tourist drawing power of the town. Also known as the R. L. Harris Reservoir, the lake draws thousands of visitors to Wedowee every year. 
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Wedowee AL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Wedowee AL.
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